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21 years of pipeline training - The lessons learnt

 

Robert LeHunt

Papers # 2016 Berlin

Nationally moderated and approved competency training Units and Qualifications have been established in Australia for plastics pipes within an overall Plastics Industry Training Package. Delivery of such Units over a 21 year period has contributed to a greater understanding of various plastics pipes materials, jointing, and installation in the field resulting in improved quality outcomes, cost reductions, and greater efficiencies. Program delivery contents are dynamic, and are continually updated to reflect industrial, and overall environmental changes from time to time.

Competency training in the fields of PVC pipeline design & installation, PE pipeline design & installation, buttwelding, electrofusion, and extrusion welding has been running in Australia over a 21 year period. This has been undertaken using a National Federal Government established and ratified set of competency performance units contained within a Plastics Industry Training Package.

Initial development of detailed delivery program contents to meet required competency skills demanded consideration of existing skill sets of potential candidates, and that they would have different levels of knowledge, and experience. Competency; apart from the candidate being required to demonstrate knowledge and carry out practical exercises to nominated standards of performance; requires the ability to transfer these skills to different field installation circumstances. This includes the ability to be self supervising with the capability to recognize defects in the field and to identify/carry out remedial action.

An analysis of PE buttweld field failures in urban, regional, and remote locations has shown that the majority are due to operator influenced causes.

Over the 21 year period being considered, the plastics pipe industry has undergone significant change in the volume of product being used, rapid diameter range increase passing into everyday use, improvement and change in the types of actual products, and more demanding testing requirements. These are regarded as disruptive technologies. Experience has shown that formal training must evolve with these changes, and follow the principles of continued professional development to be effective. It cannot be assumed that the wider installation population has the same knowledge as the specialist supplier/research population and may have in fact have an overinflated opinion of existing skills.

To be successful, the formal training program acquired skills must be transferred to the field for implementation under different circumstances. Training competencies and experiences, must be integrated into the Project Specifications, and form part of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) covering all site operations which are negotiated and agreed to by all stakeholders before construction commences.

Related keywords : Pipeline Training, PE Fusion, PVC Installation, LeHunt.
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